Last week, I looked at which measurements to use. This week, I discuss how to measure your editing rate.
How to Track Editing Time
Basically, you need a timer and a way to count words. (We’ll talk next time about tools.) When you’re ready to edit, start your timer; when you’re done, stop it. Subtract your stop time from your start time, and you have your editing time.
To determine how many words or pages you edited during that time, in Microsoft Word, you can highlight what you edited during the period and let the software tell you how many words are there.
This count will include words you added but won’t include words you deleted, even if Track Changes is on. But unless you’ve added or subtracted hundreds of words, this count should be close enough.
Want to know the original number of words you dealt with? Go to the original version of the file (you do practice version control, right?) and highlight the section you just edited. That’s your word count.
How to Calculate Editing Rates
At this point you know how much time you spent editing and how many words you edited. Pick one of the measures below and plug in your numbers (remember that a page equals 250 words):
- Words per minute = words edited / minutes spent editing
- Words per hour = words edited / (minutes spent editing / 60)
- Pages per hour = (words edited / 250 words) / (minutes spent editing / 60)
Track whatever else you will need to invoice a client or report to your boss, such as document title, total words, and dates you worked on the project.
For your own records, track the type of editing you did (light copyediting, heavy copyediting, etc.), the project’s medium (web, magazine, textbook, etc.), and the topic (medical, marketing, etc.).
You’ll want to track these latter variables because each variable changes how much you can edit in a specific time. Once you’ve been tracking these variables for a while, you’ll have a good idea of your productivity. That will allow you to fairly accurately estimate how long a new project will take to edit.
The Tip will take a break next week while I’m on vacation. When I return, I’ll wrap up this series with tips for choosing the right tools for measuring your productivity.
Read the whole series!